Al-Azhar Mosque. Courtesy of Al-Azhar website.
In a statement issued on Monday, Al-Azhar described the incident as “a part of a series of attacks on Islam and its holy sites.”
The Sunni influential institution said that the timing of the incident, which coincides with the celebration of the birth of Prophet Muhammad later this week, is a deliberate attempt to propagate Islamophobia and hatred against Muslims.
Al-Azhar also said that repeating such crimes proves that some Western governments are not serious about promoting peace and coexistence.
These governments, Al-Azhar said, are hypocritical in their calls for dialogue and integration while inciting hatred and division.
“Al-Azhar calls on all Western governments, peoples, and the world to study Islam in depth and to understand it in a way consistent with the progress and civilization that these countries claim to represent.”
The statement added that Al-Azhar also called on people to reflect on the life of the Prophet Muhammad, who was a messenger of peace and humanity.
Al-Azhar said that if the extremists who commit such crimes knew the Quran's teachings and values, which protect the freedom and rights of others, they would be ashamed to burn the Quran or desecrate it.
Far-right Dutch activists tore copies of the Holy Quran on Sunday outside the embassies of Turkey, Indonesia, and Pakistan in the Hague.
On Monday, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry criticized the recurrence of such incidents, describing them “as provocative and irresponsible acts that violate Muslims' sacred beliefs and promote hate speech.